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Sukhbir’s oath: PSEB bore ‘load’ of Rs 3 cr
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 15
The swearing-in ceremony of Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on January 21 cost the state electricity board (PSEB), which provided uninterrupted power to enable the people of the state to watch live telecast of the ceremony, more than Rs 3 crore.

Though PSEB chairman HS Brar claimed it was sheer co-incidence that there was no power cut that day ie. January 21, energy accounts recently issued by the Northern Regional Power Committee (NRPC) tell a different story.

Punjab overdrew power from the northern grid and energy from the NTPC’s gas-fired power stations on Sukhbir's coronation day to avoid power cuts.

Everyday, the Central sector and other power schedules like trading and banking are consolidated to give drawl schedule for the day to the state of Punjab. If a state draws energy in excess of the given schedule, then that state is booked “unscheduled interchange” (UI) at a rate which is linked to frequency — Rs 10 per unit at 49 hertz, Rs 2 per unit at 50 hertz and zero paisa per unit at 50.5 hertz.

The PSEB had been regularly under-drawing power to earn UI payments because of financial crunch. Thus, on January 19 it had underdrawn 85.8 lakh units (LUs) and earned Rs 4.28 crore as UI charges. Conversely on January 21, the board overdrew 38.47 LUs and paid Rs 2.38 crore as UI overdrawal charges. Finally, on January 25, the PSEB reverted to its earlier position by underdrawing 56.76 LUs and earned Rs 2.56 crore as UI payment.

Comparing the figures of January 19 and 21, the PSEB earned Rs 4.28 crore on January 19 while it had to pay Rs 2.38 crore due to overdrawal on January 21. The financial impact on UI billing on January 21 vis-a-vis January 19 was, therefore, Rs 6.66 crore.

On January 21, the PSEB had to bear extra UI liability of Rs 6.66 crore for additional energy of 124.29 LUs. This energy would have fetched the board revenue of Rs 3.28 crore. Thus, overall the PSEB suffered a loss of Rs 3.38 crore due to overdrawal from the grid on January 21.

Price of power

The NTPC gas-fired power stations have spare capacity that can be utilised by using costly liquid fuel. States that require extra energy give their requisition for this energy, which has rate ranging between Rs 5.77 and 7.72 per unit. On January 19, the PSEB gave requisition of only 3.17 lakh units of liquid-fired generation from NTPC stations while on January 21 the requisition was increased more than four times to Rs 14.89 LUs.



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